Monday, July 19, 2010

127. Carnival Beauties: ENCARNACION I. JOHNSON, 1927 Miss Rizal

ENCHANTING ENCARNITA. Miss Rizal of 1927 charmed the King Escort of the 1927 Miss Philippines, and became Mrs. Guillermo Jose and the mother of two tennis champions.

In 1926, the province of Rizal fielded its very first Miss Rizal to the 1st National Beauty Contest in the person of Remedios Santos, a dreamy-eyed mestiza beauty who went to Manila for the pageant and whose room mate was the eventual winner, Anita Noble of Batangas. The next year, Rizal chose another mestiza bet, the slender Filipina-American Encarnacion Ibañez Johnson.

While Encarnita did not place in the finals, she caught the eye of the King Consort of Luisa Marasigan, the 1927 Miss Philippines winner. Guillermo Jose, a family friend of the Marasigans (her sisters were schoolmates of Luisa at Centro Escolar), had been requested to provide escorting duties to the new Queen by the school directress, Carmen de Luna, who also happened to be his godmother. In their moments together, Guillermo would often ask Luisa about “Miss Rizal”. Luisa, sensing his attraction to Encarnita, urged her escort to pursue and court her.

Guillermo took the Queen’s advice and successfully wooed Encarnita. She became Mrs. Guillermo Jose and settled in Manila. Guillermo became very much active in the tennis sports scene ( he became the president of the Philippine Tennis Association in the 1950s) and the couple even had two sons who became national tennis champions: Johnny and Danny Jose. Johnny became a member of the victorious 1955 Philippine Davis Cup team along with Raymond Dero and Felicisimo Ampon. In 1962, Johnny won a Gold Medal in the Asian Games held in Jakarta. Today, the Guillermo Jose Memorial Tennis Tournament is held annually and this has become a venue where budding young tennis players are discovered.

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